Fired Capitol cafeteria worker accused of calling Souder name

A sandwich maker in a Capitol café who was recently fired said that House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) has told him that he was let go, in part, for calling Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) “a redneck honkey.”

Kennison Battle was fired just days after Souder stomped out in a huff, upset that the employee grilled his sandwich instead of toasting it. Souder has never mentioned the pejorative, and an ITK witness claimed no such name-calling ever occurred at the time of the incident.

Battle also insists he never called Souder any names. “I don’t even talk like that,” he said.

Souder, who questioned the sandwich worker’s competence, claimed he did not have anything to do with the firing of Battle and insisted that he did not want him fired. Battle said that David Anderson, manager of Guest Services, which oversees the café, told him the sandwich incident was a “black eye” on the café.

Since the firing, Battle, 41, said he has been forced to move out of his apartment and has been taken in by his brother-in-law. He said he has less than $200 in the bank. “I’m being shot through the mills,” he said.

In a phone interview with ITK late last week, Battle said that he has had two phone conversations with Brady, who has been investigating the matter. He said he was offered a temporary job moving furniture in the House, but turned it down due to back problems.

“I don’t have a response to any racial implication,” said Kyle Anderson, press director for the House Administration Committee. “The chairman is committed to finding something for Mr. Battle that meets his needs, permanent employment with benefits. If [moving furniture] is not consistent with his physical abilities, he is committed to finding something that [is].”

Souder had no comment on the alleged name-calling.


It’s Tancredo, not Cantredo

You may not be able to out-Tancredo Rep. Tom Tancredo, as he put it at last week’s GOP debate, but you can get his name wrong.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) introduced all the candidates before the feisty debate began. Out walked Tom Tancredo to the accompaniment of Crist, who announced him as “Congressman Cantredo.” It was the only name the governor flubbed.

But the Colorado Republican doesn’t appear to be offended by it.

“Well, I spent the weekend [with him],” said Shelly Uscinksi, Tancredo’s New Hampshire campaign manager. “He was up here in New Hampshire and he didn’t mention it. I suspect that he probably thought it was a mispronounced word. I don’t imagine he had any big reaction.”

Uscinski said she and the rest of the campaign did notice the mistake. “I said, ‘Gee, he mispronounced his name,’ ” she said. “It was unfortunate. We did see it. I would imagine everyone across the country caught it.

“He was more excited that the first 30 to 40 minutes of the debate was focused on illegal immigration,” Uscinksi added. “He was happy to see all the other candidates falling all over themselves trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo.”

Tancredo shouldn’t feel too badly. Another presidential hopeful, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), repeatedly referred to the host, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, as “Cooper.”



Anna Nicole lives on in government logs

Journalists regularly use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to hunt down stories about government conspiracies, but it is rarely used to crack the case of a mysterious death of a celebrity.

Frank Guzman of WSVN-TV in Florida broke the mold when he asked the National Indian Gaming Commission for access to video surveillance from inside the building of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. In a letter to the agency earlier this year, Guzman wrote, “I am specifically requesting video between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. that may indicate a guest at the hotel, Anna Nicole Smith (a.k.a. Vickie Lee Marshall) collapsing from unknown medical reasons.”

Guzman noted in his letter that Smith was later pronounced dead at Memorial Regional Medical Center.

The National Indian Gaming Commission did what many government agencies do and referred Guzman to another entity, stating that the videos are in the possession of the Seminole Gaming Commission.

At that point, Guzman ran into a dead end. When ITK sought the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s correspondence with Guzman, the tribe informed us that FOIA does not apply to it.

 “No further action will be taken with your request,” Edward Jenkins of the tribe stated in his letter to ITK.

The mystery surrounding Smith’s death subsided when the autopsy showed that she died of an accidental drug overdose.

Guzman and WSVN-TV declined to comment.



Sighting: Stephanie Tubbs Jones en route to Cleveland

Over the congressional recess, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) caused a stir when she showed up to Reagan National Airport for her flight to Cleveland. In a bright red knit pantsuit with gold buttons, a dark fur coat and leopard ballet flats, Tubbs Jones was well groomed with what looked to be freshly painted French-manicured nails. She arrived just moments before the flight began boarding — and that’s when all the whispering about her began.

The congresswoman boarded early, escorting an elderly woman onto the plane. Once on board, she helped an older couple find their seats. A passenger began talking about her during a cell-phone call. “There’s a congresswoman on the flight,” he said in a low voice. “It’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones.”

During the flight, she drank two iced teas and declined the peanuts. Although other passengers on the plane kept whipping their heads around to notice her, she kept to herself, reading the Health section of The Washington Post.


    
Sighting: Lynn Cheney at the Hay-Adams Hotel

Lynn Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, was spotted having lunch at the Hay-Adams Hotel late last week.

She dined on the soup du jour followed by the Greek salad. Secret Service swarmed the reception area of the restaurant while Cheney, in a bright green blazer, dined windowside with Patrick Butler, vice president of the Washington Post Company. Later, outside, she left in a sleek silver car with Secret Service sprinting on foot ahead of her.

“She’s a very nice lady, very polite,” said the waiter who served her, who preferred not to be named.   



Sighting: Newt Gingrich at Andre Chreky Salon

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and his wife Callista were spotted at Andre Chreky on Saturday, during the salon’s salon-athon.

Although Gingrich does have a lot of white locks to cover his rather large noggin, he was not getting any services for himself. With reading materials in hand, he waited patiently while his wife was treated to a manicure, blow-dry and style. At one point, he stopped by the Starbucks next door.

Salon services came at full price. All proceeds from the salon-athon go to Children’s National Medical Center’s Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Program.